George Kontos joins Giants broadcast team on NBC Sports Bay Area

George Kontos joins Giants broadcast team on NBC Sports Bay Area

George Kontos was made for a season like this one. 

In his six years with the Giants, Kontos was known to the staff as "Everyday George" for his ability to carry a heavy load out of the bullpen and bounce back quickly. Kontos made 300 appearances for the Giants, including 73 in 2015, when he warmed up 119 times over 162 games. 

Durable, multi-inning relievers are going to be more valuable than ever during a short season, but Kontos will bring that expertise to Giants broadcasts in a different way. He is joining NBC Sports Bay Area as an analyst for the pre- and postgame shows. It's a natural transition for Kontos, who showed an interest in a second career in media throughout his time with the Giants. 

"I did have some inclinations from early on when I was a player in San Francisco that one day this might be the route that I would take," Kontos said on the Giants Insider Podcast. "It's definitely nice to be coming back to the black and orange and being around San Francisco again."

The road back to San Francisco took some twists and turns over the last couple of years. Kontos pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees in 2018 and spent part of last year pitching for the Long Island Ducks. That successful stint landed him with the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, although he didn't make it back up to the big leagues. Kontos, 35, felt he had more left in the tank this offseason, and he visited the Driveline facility near Seattle to work on tweaks to his delivery. He found an extra couple of ticks on the radar gun and threw for scouts before spring training, but while he was talking to a couple of teams about opportunities in early February, he ultimately did not end up in a camp. 

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

"I think the pride kicked in a little bit. I said to myself, I've given the game everything I can," Kontos said. "I can look myself in the mirror and say that I always left it on the field. I gave it everything that I had every time I was on the mound and I was comfortable walking away with that thought."

Kontos walks away with a sneaky-good line on the back of his baseball card. He made 350 big league appearances over eight seasons and retired with a 3.10 ERA. In six years with the Giants he had a 3.05 ERA and 1.16 WHIP, with four seasons in which he made at least 50 appearances out of the bullpen for Bruce Bochy. 

Kontos also won two rings and made nine postseason appearances for the Giants out of the pen. He talked about some of the highlights of that career on this week's Giants Insider Podcast:

Those years in the bullpen included plenty of time around Javier Lopez and Jeremy Affeldt, two other durable relievers who went on to do TV work. Kontos said the relievers would spend the first five innings or so chatting about the game and imitating broadcasts. Then it would usually get to that time when Bochy would look out at the field, see looming trouble, and call down to get Kontos ready.  

[RELATED: Kapler impressed by Bart's professionalism in camp]

These days, the right arm is mostly used to drive golf balls. But Kontos has always wanted to stay in the game, and he'll do so as an analyst. 

"I'm glad to be coming back and glad to be joining you guys and being in the city that I love and covering the team that I love," Kontos said. "It's going to be fun and I'm very much looking forward to this."

Giants' historic meltdown filled with inexplicable late-game decisions

Giants' historic meltdown filled with inexplicable late-game decisions

The years 1929 and 2020 will always be connected in American history. The former was the year the stock market crashed, leading to the Great Depression. The latter is, well, we're living it, and it's also an all-consuming nightmare. 

In the Giants' history books, those two years now also are connected. And there's some depression involved with this comparison, too. 

The Giants lost to the A's 8-7 Friday night after leading 7-2 in the ninth inning Friday night. If that seems like a nearly impossible result, that's because it is. The Giants had not blown a five-run lead in the ninth inning or later since 1929, amassing 2,133 consecutive wins in that situation, according to Stats Perform.

For all the history there, this unbelievable loss actually unfolded quite cleanly. When the game was over, suffering a historic loss made sense, mostly because just about everything the Giants had done in that fateful inning raised further questions. 

It started with the choice of a pitcher. Gabe Kapler turned to Trevor Gott, his closer, with a five-run lead, which is certainly defensible. But while Gott has not officially been named the closer, that is his role and those guys often have a strange time when asked to finish off a blowout. 

Kapler said the staff chose Gott because they figured they might need to get Gott up anyway if they went with Jarlin Garcia or Trevor Rogers, and that's no day off.

"The thought process is how can we use one pitcher there," Kapler said. 

That leads to an obvious question. How can you trust your secondary relievers in any situation again if you're not confident they can record three outs before giving up five runs

We'll leave that one alone for now. As it was, Gott was the choice and he clearly didn't have it. Gott's velocity was normal, but his command was off. Kapler stuck with him, and he said he didn't think Gott was thrown off by the situation. 

"I totally get why that's where you might go, 'Maybe he's not used to that situation.' He's been pitching in higher-leverage situations, and those are things that are true. But what I saw out there was a very focused and aggressive and intense competitor who just didn't have command and got beat as a result."

Gott gave up a homer and then issued a walk with one out. The Giants still were in decent shape, but then Wilmer Flores made an inexplicable decision on a grounder to first base.

Flores took two steps toward the bag and then, with just one more needed for the 26th out of the night, spun and threw to second. Brandon Crawford slipped his foot off second a split-second too soon, apparently thinking Flores had touched first, and both runners were safe. 

Instead of having a four-run lead with two outs and a runner on second, Gott had two runners on and just one out. 

"I should have just stepped on first base with that lead that we had," Flores said after the game. 

Crawford had come in as a defensive replacement, but Kapler said he wanted to give Brandon Belt a night off because he has some lower-half soreness and the staff trusted Flores to get through that final inning. 

"It's [Flores'] best position and we wanted to do everything possible to get Brandon Belt a day and get him ready for tomorrow," Kapler said. 

The problem was Belt did end up playing. He struck out as a pinch-hitter in the 10th with the tying run on second, swinging through three fastballs from Liam Hendricks. That's fast-forwarding, though. 

After Flores' mistake, Gott hit a batter to load the bases and then hung a curveball that Stephen Piscotty blasted to left for a grand slam that completed the historic comeback. 

[RELATED: Giants given relatively good news with Slater's MRI results]

The Giants went to extra innings for the third time this year, and Garcia entered and got a grounder, flyout and grounder. That was enough, though, to move the placed runner from second to home for the go-ahead run. Three Giants struck out in a similar situation in the bottom of the inning, and that was the end. 

So there you have it, that's how you suffer a loss that hasn't been seen since 1929. It was a trainwreck, but a gradual one, and it seemed to leave the Giants stunned. Kapler said he would process the loss as the night went on. 

"We'll talk about it and figure out ways to get better for tomorrow," he said. "And things we could have done differently."

Dave Kaval trolls Giants fans after A's comeback 8-7 extra-inning win

Dave Kaval trolls Giants fans after A's comeback 8-7 extra-inning win

A's president Dave Kaval loves to troll the Giants and their fans.


So when the Giants blew a five-run ninth-inning lead Friday night and lost 8-7 in extra innings to the A's at Oracle Park, Kaval took the opportunity to get in a shot at fans in San Francisco.

Sorry Dave, but Giants fans aren't jumping on the bandwagon of a team that hasn't won a World Series since 1989, and hasn't gotten out of the Wild Card Game the last two years.

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

Also, a majority of Market Street in San Francisco now is car-free thanks to the Better Market Street project, which was implemented at the end of January. So Kaval would be unsuccessful if he tried to drive the A's bandwagon down the major thoroughfare.

At the end of June, Kaval poked fun at the Giants by tweeting that the A's would have a fan section of cardboard cut-outs at the Oakland Coliseum, and that it would be in prime seagull territory.

In the past, Kaval has led an "armada" of A's fans on kayaks into McCovey Cove, and he even set up a program where Giants fans could exchange their SF hats for A's hats.

[RELATED: Giants' inexplicable decisions led to historic meltdown]

Kaval is riding high right now. The A's (14-6) have the best record in the American League, while the Giants (8-13) hold the second-worst record in the National League.

We'll see who gets the last laugh when the playoffs roll around for the A's.